We plan events for many reasons, but our goals often include education, networking, and training. Giving guests time to relax and unwind, regardless of your primary purpose, will allow a needed pause in the midst of an intense time of focus and concentration. How can you add laughter and levity to your next event?
1) Hire a comedian or magician. Be sure to vet this person well beforehand. This might include listening to portions of his/her routine, discussing expectations on topics that should be avoided, and seeing a video of this person performing. At one women’s retreat I hosted we wanted to encourage a time of laughter, but didn’t have a budget for hiring a live entertainer. Instead, I did some research and found a video of a popular Christian comedian. I bought the DVD and showed it to the small group, accompanied by brownies and hot chocolate, and it was a huge hit! Be sure to consider licensing and permissions restrictions before you show a recorded performance to a group.
2) Host a movie night. Turn your large group meeting area into a theater, add couches and tube lighting down the isles. Pin up movie posters and serve hot popcorn for $1. If the weather allows, plan an outdoor movie just after dark. This is a fun family option! Movies can be broadcast onto the side of a building, or you can create your own big screen with pvc pipe and a white tarp. Contact Christian Video Licensing International : cvli.com to obtain the license you need to show a movie to a large group. When choosing a flick, consider the entire audience who will be viewing it, and be sure to watch it all the way through before you air it on movie night.
3) Sponsor a tour. Is your event just a few minutes away from a nice tourist attraction? Would it be fun and interesting for your attendees? Obtain tickets for your group and shuttle them there and back. Be clear about pickup times! Perhaps you know of a gorgeous overlook or monument in the area; plan a picnic lunch and pack Frisbees and blankets. Don’t plan a hike or long walk unless you are sure all of your attendees would be able to join you.
4) Add some music. Outdoor summer concerts are popular all over our country. Why? Because people enjoy experiencing music, listening, humming or singing along. It’s pleasurable and relaxing. Hire a band that can play a variety of familiar music for your crowd. The type of music will be very different depending on the age and tastes of your group. Have the the musicians set up in a pavilion or outdoor setting and invite guests to enjoy. Make sure the music is appropriately loud. Blaring music will scare away (most) crowds and prevent visiting among guests.
To add another layer to your planning, consider how your entertainment might complement your event purpose. Could a movie be fun and bring up a theme for guests to consider and discuss at a later session? Might a comedian cover topics with insight and humor that the main speaker has discussed during his teaching sessions? Laughter and relaxation can bond a group and relieve tension created by intense study and group experiences. Enjoy planning some times of fun and laughter for your event participants!